Pop!_OS 21.04 Beta is Available with Cosmic Desktop. Download and Test Now

3 min

Get your hands-on with the Cosmic Desktop (Pop OS 21.04) from the Pop OS team as part of the beta copy. Here’s a recap of the feature highlights and beta download details.

A while back, the Pop OS team announced a redesign of their flagship GNOME-based desktop Pop!_OS. Pop OS is based on Ubuntu and features a variant of the GNOME desktop. It is carefully crafted to fill the need of the System76 made devices, however, it is also appealing to general users.

The primary reason is, the team includes several tweaks and extensions for GNOME desktop out-of-the-box and it provides a semi-tiling desktop experience. Having said that, the team went ahead and listened to the feedback of GNOME users across the world and introduced the Cosmic Desktop with more tweaks and changes aligning with your needs. The cosmic desktop comes as part of their release Pop OS 21.04 which is due on June 2021.

Although, we covered the first revealing of the desktop a while back. but I thought it worth showing you the features with some screenshots as it is available for the public now.

Pop OS 21.04 Beta – Cosmic Desktop – New Features

Pop OS 21.04 Workspace View
Pop OS 21.04 Workspace View

In the Cosmic desktop, the Workspace view and the application view are separated. The Activities view shows you all the open Windows/Applications alongside the list of workspaces.

The application view is a separate list of applications and there is not much change in how the applications are displayed.

There is a difference here. The application view doesn’t show you the workspaces or open windows like in GNOME 40.

Cosmic Desktop Application View
Cosmic Desktop Application View

The team did a survey and found that almost 50% of the users use Dash to Dock or similar extensions in GNOME to make the Dock at the bottom. Based on this, in this new desktop, you get a fixed dock at the bottom. Using settings, you can move the dock to the left, top, or right side of your desktop. No need to install any additional extensions for this.

Pop OS Launcher
Pop OS Launcher

The Pop launcher is now customizable to kick off via Super Key. The Launcher is like KRunner of KDE. It has the ability to launch apps, calculate simple maths, execute a shell command, and so on. It’s like KRunner for GNOME, comes pre-loaded.

The Launcher also has an icon at the dock and it can be configured to launch workspace view or the application view.

On the software side, you get to experience all the latest applications in the Pop OS 21.04 release. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Pop OS 21.04 is based on Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo.
  • Powered by Linux Kernel 5.11 and GNOME 3.38.4.
  • You get the latest stable LibreOffice 7.1
  • And also the brand new and shiny Firefox 89 which brings a completely redefined browsing experience.

Pop OS 21.04 Release schedule

Pop OS is released on June 29, 2021.

Pop OS 21.04 (Beta) Download

The Beta .iso copy is available on GitHub. It comes with two variants -Intel/AMD and NVIDIA. You can download them using the following link.

Once downloaded, you can write it on USB and install it. Or you can try it on a virtual machine.

If you are running Pop OS earlier version, it is not recommended to upgrade right now. You can upgrade once the final version is released.

Closing Notes

Honestly, I do not want Pop OS to adopt the GNOME 40 desktop. In that sense we, users, have an option to experience the good ol’ GNOME 3.38 desktop with tweaks. Also, I think with all the above features, the new Cosmic Desktop is very productive with a streamlined workflow. You may not get the fancy GNOME 40 things, but still, you get a faster system of the pre-GNOME-40 era.



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